Want to talk about Pantomime
My first blog post so if you're reading this, thanks so much for stopping by.
The idea for this post literally fell out of my head after reading about the upcoming M.A (Master of Arts) in Contemporary Pantomime Practice at Staffordshire University, starting in September of this year.
Just the title of the course signals progression and progression, however much it may make us feel uneasy at times, is part of life.
What is an MA all about anyway?
Well, the way I would describe it is, its like a BA on steroids and then left to its own devices.
You pay an extremely high ticket price but it allows you time to semi privately experiment and innovate whilst brushing shoulders with gate keepers.
I'm sure there will be arguments for and against something as apparently high brow as an MA attached to an art form so steeped in tradition.
I mean I don't believe you absolutely need an MA in anything, but I love the idea that if you do want to take the academic route, there is an option to do so.
If I'd had the funds after doing my BA and there even was such a thing as an MA in wigs and make up.
I would 100% have done it.
A Master of Arts is an opportunity for a practitioner or side stepper to move up to bon a fide nerd ( and I mean that in a complimentary way). Nerds are my favourite types of people and I consider myself very much part of that club.
I did a bit of research to see how far pantomime had evolved from its beginnings
and found this fantastic introduction to the history of pantomime on the V and A website
The Palladium was a yearly thing for myself and my daughter when we lived in London and always marked the start of the festivity's. I'll never forget one of the first pantos I took my daughter, then 5 or 6 to. There was a puppet on stage, being managed by a hooman who cried out that nobody loved him. My daughter was clearly upset by this and waved her arm in the air and screamed
Nobody told her to shush. There were no disapproving looks. The whole audience was part of the show.
There is no other performance as interactive as pantomime.
This is what is so refreshing about it. Its inclusion, its wonderful ridiculousness and the ability for us to all remember not to take things too seriously.
Very important reminders in these dystopian times.
So I guess the next question is what new opportunities could an MA bring to the industry?
Please see my brain dump below.
These are the possibilities I came up with;
- Accolade, Recognition, Kudos
Theres no doubt (Im brimming with confidence here) in my mind that a number of industry people with MA after their name could potentially attract accolade.
Let's face it, as a society we all love to see tangible proof that someone can do something, it's a status symbol.
As much as its all fun and thrills and slap stick on stage, as with any performance, there is craft and creativity, blood sweat and dare I say it, even a few tears every now and then.
Accolade has an ROI (return on investment) which can show up as finance.
With finance who knows what could happen?
- Dames could be for life and not just for Christmas.
Look at the wonderful, brave work that Mama G does in using her Dame-hood to spread positivity and educate the younger generation to be kinder.
And could you even get your head around a Dame Race UK?
Definitely worth getting a new pair of bloomers for.
-There could be more shows, bigger audiences.
Which would mean more glitter, more lurex ... more shiny things in general.
-It might encourage more new ideas and more innovation.
I don't mean we should erase the panto we know and love, what I mean is that it could continue to be elevated and challenged via creative cross pollination.
The image of Dan Leno at the top of this post is a favourite of mine.
He reminds me of David Bowie during his Space Oddity time and his interest in mime. Bowie was mentored and trained by Lindsay Kemp who himself was involved in pantomime at one stage.
There is so much to pantomime and so many incredible performers have been directly and indirectly influenced by it.
It's part of our culture in Britain and we should want to see her continue to bloom.
My flutter with making some pantomime wigs last year has sparked this curiosity.
I thought it was worth a post.